Born a hundred years ago today (September 13th 1916) Roald Dahl has enchanted children and grown-ups alike with his stories since before the start of World War 2. His ability to create fantastical tales that don’t talk down to children made sure he found fans around the world.
His stories have been a source of happiness to us all and an inspiration for some of the best movie adaptations the world has ever known…
5. The Witches (1990)
When young Luke Eveshim visits a seaside resort with his Grandmother after he’s orphaned, Luke discovers a witch convention and realises he must do anything to stop them. Even if he has been turned into a mouse.
Anjelica Huston’s iconic role as the Grand High Witch, set off a chain of fantastically gothic roles for the actress and gave children nightmares for years with the skin-peeling scenes. One of the few movie adaptations to be made while Dahl was still alive, he almost withdrew his name from production before he received an apology from the director.
4. Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)
Mr.Fox breaks a promise to his wife and raids the human-owned farms of Boggis, Bunce and Bean. An all out war breaks out between the humans and the animals force them underground Mr.Fox uses his natural sly instincts to win.
The cool af Wes Anderson adaptation features a star-studded of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray voicing the characters and amazingly cool puppets this is one of the best 21st century adaptations
3. Matilda (1996)
Matilda is a quiet little girl who happens to be a genius with magic powers. She uses her wits, good heart and intelligence to take on her bullying headmistress. Roald Dahl’s wife served as producer on the film and there were plenty of nods too the writer throughout the film.
The Matilda movie probably has the most changes from the book but it still captures the feeling of this little girl managing to save herself and the people around with kindness and the power of books.
2. James and the Giant Peach (1996)
James is an orphan living with his two evil aunts manages to befriend humanoid bug creatures and they travel together to New York, in yup you guessed it a giant fucking peach. The animation for this film is so unique and so in keeping with the illustrations of the book.
The film took twelve years to make and Dahl originally was unsure how they were going to do it but James and the Giant Peach strikes the right mix between childhood and reality.
1. Willy Wonka + the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Could it be anything else? Gene Wilder’s iconic turn as the enigmatic factory owner will remain a classic for many years to come. Even though Dahl originally wanted Spike Milligan for the role, Mel Brooks was sure it was going to Wilder. The terrifying trip through the chocolate factory shows Charlie Bucket and the other children meet a fantastical world where everything isn’t quite what it seems
What’s your favourite Dahl book or movie?